Two car wrecks, each causing two deaths, occurred within a few hours of each other Saturday on an unusually deadly weekend on Austin’s roads, police said.
More than 60 traffic deaths have occurred in Austin in 2017, according to the Police Department. Though the city is not on track to surpass the 79 deaths on Austin roads last year, Saturday’s crashes were a reminder of how quickly a weekend outing can turn tragic.
“This is our second double-fatality crash today,” interim Police Chief Brian Manley tweeted Saturday evening. “A sober reminder that we all need to drive with safety in mind to avoid a similar tragedy.”
The first wreck occurred about 3:30 p.m. Saturday when a man driving a Jeep northbound in the 9400 block of Research Boulevard crossed a highway-dividing cable into the southbound lanes and collided with a Fiat. A woman in her 30s and a boy in the Fiat were killed. A man in his 40s and a teenage girl also in the Fiat were critically injured.
It is unclear why the man in the Jeep, who was critically injured, drove into oncoming traffic.
The Jeep also struck a BMW driven by a woman in her 60s, who was uninjured and was interviewed by police investigating the crash.
The driver of the Jeep and the man in his 40s were taken to Dell Seton Medical Center. The teenage girl was taken to Dell Children’s Medical Center.
The collision closed Research Boulevard and Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360) in both directions for several hours while authorities investigated.
The second deadly crash occurred just before 6 p.m. Saturday near Riverside Drive and Vargas Road, where a four-door sedan slammed into the base of a billboard and burst into flames, killing its two occupants, police said.
“Speed’s possibly a factor, but it’s not clear at this moment,” Austin police public information officer Christopher Irwin said.
The car crash also closed the roads for several hours.
Isaac Boston was at a nearby service station when he heard skidding, saw flames and then heard an explosion. “It blew up,” Boston said. “The ground shook.”
Both incidents are still being investigated, and authorities have not yet released the names of the people involved.